English, Department of



Bill Adams

Date of this Version


Document Type



The George Eliot Review 19 (1988)


Published by The George Eliot Review Online https://GeorgeEliotReview.org


Trying to follow the polemics of literary criticism is rather like trying to understand the progress of an aerial battle from the ground. One is aware of much noise and the incomprehensible twistings of the vapour trails of argument. However, anyone having the least interest in English literature cannot fail to have heard of the battling Leavises, or indeed, to recognise the spare features and uncompromising expressions of both spouses.

It was this vague layman's interest which led me to open Dr. Robertson's book, with the thought - how can anyone looking as pugnacious as F.R. Leavis have the delicacy of thought necessary to appreciate great literature?

The Introduction was sufficient to convince me that I must read on. It is concise and informative and leads with a clear light into the succeeding chapters. It must be said that to appreciate the latter fully one should have read the Leavises' own work, but there is guidance enough given by Dr. Robertson to make that reading a very enlightening task.